Cool Canadians are flying high, and dodging bears while we do it
International media note outgoing wildlife, leniency towards pot
Canadians are cool.
Even if our luge athletes have to dodge bears on the track and our visiting European friends must adopt our local raccoons.
Drug use is banned, but only for athletes. For the rest of you, Vancouver is being billed as a "marijuana-friendly city."
As the international press, bloggers and Olympics fans arrive in Vancouver for Friday's kickoff of the 2010 Games, they are sharing their impressions of our city and our country with readers and friends back home.
Some may come as news to those of us living here.
I've never felt the need to don bear bells with my ski helmet at Whistler Blackcomb -although I have run into those four-legged Whistler residents in other seasons. But the Christian Science Monitor's Olympics blog on "Five events you won't see on TV," just might make them a hot seller for the Olympics.
"The luge track, which snakes through the trees -avoiding the need for a clearcut -has proven extremely friendly to wildlife," reads the Five Events post. "One Canadian luge athlete described how he was set to launch himself down the track when he saw a "huge black thing." Next thing he knew, a bear had its claws in the side of the track. His teammates have also had run-ins with bears, while visiting Europeans apparently have pet local raccoons.
At least the bears aren't smoking dope, as apparently everyone else in Vancouver is doing if some of the stories circulating about us around the world are to be believed.
In its story, "Vancouver - marijuana friendly city," Poland's Dziennik writes: Vancouver is a unique city, the most tolerant of soft drugs in the history of the Games . . . . Formally, marijuana smoking is prohibited in Canada. But in fact there is almost universal consent to the use of such drugs, particularly in the west of the country," reads Google's translation, although something may have been lost in translation.
No Olympic sports reporting in this town would be complete without a ride-along with the police, and BBC News wasn't disappointed with its ride.
"On patrol with Vancouver Police fighting drugs war," the U.K. broadcaster reported: "The city that is hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics is becoming home to a vicious drugs war.
"There have been dozens of drug-related murders in Vancouver."
Tell us something we don't know.
But aside from the view that we're dodging bears, only our athletes are drug free and the perennial description of B.C. suffering both a lack of snow and a lack of cash to pay off the Olympic budget, some visitors think we make fine hosts.
"Last night, watching a rehearsal of a nightly laser-light show from the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, I was struck by how together everything seems to be. If I had a quarter of a million people coming to my house, I'd be in a bit of a panic," wrote Sue Frause in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's reader blogs.
"But Canadians are cool, real cool."
Thanks Sue, you're welcome to visit any time.
Feb. 11, 2010
The Vancouver Sun